Packaged snack bars can hide some pretty scary ingredients—make and customize your own at home with this easy guide. 

September 11, 2018
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

With our easy instructions, you can mix and match your favorite flavors to create your ideal combo. The same formula will get you to snack bar success no matter which nut butter, sweetener, toasted nut, or dried fruit you choose. Store completely cooled bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks or freeze up to two months.

1. Create a Base

Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Toast oats in the oven to give them a nutty flavor. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 2 cups old-fashioned oats onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 12 minutes. Transfer oats to a bowl, and cool to room temperature.

2. Add Richness

Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Creamy nut butter and toasty coconut oil enrich the bars. Liquid sweetener, well, sweetens them. Place 1/3 cup nut butter, 1/4 cup liquid sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup, or agave), and 11/2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a bowl. Microwave 30 seconds or until warm.

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3. Boost the Flavor

Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt to the nut butter mixture to heighten the flavor; whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1 large egg white; it’s a key part of the binder that will hold all the ingredients together.

4. Add Crunch and Chew

Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Stir 1/2 cup unsalted roasted nuts (or broken-up pretzel pieces) into the cooled oats for hearty crunch. Add 1/3 cup dried fruit (chop the pieces if they are large) for bright, sweet flavor and textural contrast.

5. Mix and Press

Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Pour nut butter mixture over oat mixture; stir well until all pieces are evenly coated. Transfer mixture to an 8-inch square metal baking pan lined with parchment paper. Press mixture very firmly into pan; packing tightly helps keep bars from crumbling.

6. Bake and Cool

Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Bake at 350°F until lightly browned around edges, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Lift bars out of pan with parchment paper; cool completely on rack before cutting (warm bars might crumble).